Thursday, December 10, 2009

Book Review

This nine weeks of school I have read a range of books-from the cookie cutter romances to saddening tales of horror. Some of my favorites include: Twilight, A Thousand Splendid Suns, and The Kite Runner.

The best parts about Stephanie Meyer's Twilight are the sweetness and innocence of Bella and Edward's relationship and the normality of the pairing despite species differences. As you read of the sincere love between the teens, it is hard not to get the warm, satisfied feeling in your heart. You day dream of finding that love yourself and revel in it. I however did not enjoy the bipolar mood swings of Edward, the brooding vampire, which hurt Bella repeatedly.

The first Khalid Hosseini novel I read, A Thousand Splendid Suns truly touched my heart. It is a moving work that would rile any woman with anger. Laila, a woman who would not submit to her husband, remains to me an emblem of strength. Though Mariam quietly suffers the abuse of her shared husband, her strength comes through her love for both Laila and Laila's daughter. Both are role models for every woman on Earth. Be strong in will and generous in love.

Enamored with A Thousand Splendid Suns, I quickly followed it by reading The Kite Runner. I was not disappointed. Kite Runner may have even been more moving. The bond between the two boys is drawn even more complicated as love and guilty and shame are intertwined. I have not a single bad thing to say. It was a beautiful story of the simplicity of childhood growing into the complexity of maturedom. The parting words of the novel will bring tears to every eye.

Monday, November 16, 2009

A Criminal Trial for K.S.M.

On November 13, 2009, it was announced that K.S.M.-the moniker given to terrorist strategist Khalid Shaikh Mohammed- and four of his co-conspirators will be tried in a New York courtroom.

Mohammed is the self-proclaimed mastermind of the series of terrorist attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001.

Despite the arguments of others, I believe this form of attempted-and hopefully successful-prosecution of these men full of hatred towards the United States.

I believe that the conviction of Khalid and Company is inevitable. Any jury consisting of Americans with conscience will be biased towards this band of ill doers. These men caused the death of over 3,000 Americans in the Twin Tower attacks. Also, during March 0f 2003, Mohammed was subjected to 183 instances of waterboarding torture. He confessed to all of his ties to terrorism and the Al-Qaeda. Not only his acts of terror, Khalid also confessed to himself decapitating journalist Daniel Pearl-a justification to the choice of a criminal trial.

While it is likely that the evidence collected at Guantanamo Bay may be stricken from the trial, its effect will cast shadows of doubt in the reasoning minds of the jury. Though stricken, it is quite hard to forget such crucial 'evidence'.

Despite my predictions of easy conviction, this trial will cast a light of justice and fairness on the United States. Says criminal lawyer Joshua Dratel, "It will be a victory for the system of justice and rule of law." This less dictorial trial would make the U.S. seem less cruel and more fair. Therefore, the hated U.S. may seem less evil in the eyes of the Middle East as we have shown tolerance on their beloved jihadist hero.

However, this tolerant trial is quite a risk taken by the Obama administration. There is a chance that much the trial will become a unending source of military information to the Al-Qaeda. Former Bush lawyer John Yoo writes, "trying K.S.M. in civilian court will be an intelligence bonanza for Al-Qaeda and the hostile nations that will view the U. S. intelligence methods and sources that such a trial will reveal."

Though I know heavy risks are entailed, I believe the benefits of the reshaping of the American image through this trial outweigh them. It is crucial that the American government gain more allies in the Middle East.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

The Taliban: A Religious Group?

After the Russian invasion of Afghanistan, the Taliban took control and entered the country as a saving grace-saving their people from the Russian brutes and restoring Muslim values to the country.

In Khaled Hosseini's novel depicting real world Afghan life, A Thousand Splendid Suns, Hosseini depicts the Taliban parading down the streets of Kabul welcomed by the cheers of a crowd.

These religious extremists were heroes to the Afghanis at the beginning of their seizure of power. A few years later this happy picture would change.

The Taliban-which translates into 'religious students'-were considered mujihideen, or holy warriors. Their rule was based on a "strict interpretation of Sharia- Islamic law."

But in the Taliban's enforcement of Islamic law, they responded with often an unmatched cruelty, a contradiction to most philosophies of religion. It was a regular occurrence for violators of the law to be flogged or stoned in huge soccer arenas. Women were beaten if they were seen without a male escort. Women could have their fingertips sliced off if they were caught wearing fingernail polish.

Another contradiction to the 'unwavering' beliefs of the Taliban was their source of income. They generated capital through smuggling and the dealing of opium.

The Taliban do not hesitate at the murder of innocents. One of the greatest American tragedies is the destruction of the two towers of the World Trade Center in New York City. On September 11, 2001, Osama Bin Laden arranged the hijacking of four planes. This series of attacks killed thousands of innocent Americans.

I find it hard to believe that the Taliban can call themselves devout Muslims despite their Sharia jurisdiction. They are known murders. They ran a large opium cartel. They were overly cruel to minor offenses. They beat their own country men in the primitive form of the gladiators of Rome.

In my eyes, the Taliban are a fellowship of cruel hearted men who have lost sight of their god-Allah.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Sentence 12

"Her mouth moved dangerously close to a pout. 'How come I can't come in?' "-from Hidden Riches by Nora Roberts

Pouting-generally suited for two-year olds-is a childish gesture. The often inquisitive children frequently ask questions. But they often wrongly ask Why? as How come?. Roberts uses both to create an image of an unruly, whiny, partly childish moment for her character.

My example: She blew a raspberry in his face. "That's so not fair!"

Sentence 11

" You're about as subtle as nuclear waste."- from Hidden Riches by Nora Roberts

The simile of the you to subtle nuclear waste is Nora Roberts touch of sarcasm. By comparing these two opposites, Roberts constructs a paradoxial simile.

My example: You're about as quiet as a jackhammer.

Sentence 10

"Children are actors, you see, and actors, children."- from Hidden Riches by Nora Roberts

The balanced, juxtaposed sentence shows that actors and children are on in the same. They are inseparable entities. Both share characteristics of the other. Children their imagination, and actors their longing for play and freedom.

My example: Dreamers are thinkers, you see, and thinkers, dreamers.

Sentence 9

"And he was exactly where he wanted to be. Alone."-from Hidden Riches by Nora Roberts

The single word-alone-used as a sentence emphasizes the singularity the character wishes to have. Visually the word is by itself-alone. The character's desire for loneliness is emphasized by making it stand out so.

My example: He was deviously getting closer to what he wanted most. Power.